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Aircraft named after Hawaii water bird

October 12, 2018

Hawaii Air National Guard photograph

An F-4C Phantom assigned to the Hawaii Air National Guard’s 199th Fighter Squadron, is shown here taxiing at Hickam AFB sometime in the early 1980s. This particular aircraft was christened “‘Alae’Ula,” which is the Hawaiian moorhen, a water bird that is endemic to Hawaii.

For most of the F-4C Phantom era in the HIANG, each aircraft was named for a native Hawaiian bird. The project was spearheaded by then-Lt Col Kurt Johnson. Coming from a kama’aina family, Kurt used his knowledge of Hawaiian culture to do creative things like this type of aircraft naming. He was also the creator of the 154th Wing’s Hawaiian pattern tail flash.

The red stars denote aerial victories credited to that aircraft when it was assigned to a previous squadron during the Vietnam War. One of the credits was for the downing of a Mig-17 using an AIM-9 missile on June 5, 1967 by Capt. Richard M. Pascoe and 1st Lt. Norman E. Wells of the 555th Tactical Fighter Squadron.


Special thanks to Theodore Merrill, the retired 154th Wing historian who scanned many old photographs that document the Hawaii Air National Guard’s unique history. Ted did the research on the background on the battle stars. Tad was a Traditional Guardmember who served with the Honolulu Police Depatment  

From → History

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